(First of all, the Shoeper Shoe Challenge roundup will not be appearing today as my time has been totally taken up with the issue below. My apologies to everyone who’s sent me photos – I promise I will publish them on Monday. In the meantime, I would really appreciate your comments and re-tweets on this post…)
I had really hoped not to have to write this post, but having exhausted my other options I’ve taken legal advice (from the wonderful Caveat Calcei, who you all know from the Shoe Challenge), and feel I have no option but to go public about an issue regarding the “Shoeperwoman” name and this site.
As most of my regular readers will know, I set up Shoeperwoman two years ago this month, having registered the domain in May of 2008 and spent a year planning the site. At the time there were no other sites using the name. Earlier this year, however, a UK-based company launched a shoe blog called “Shoeper-woman” and an associated retail website of the same name.
(Not my blog)
I don’t really want to link to these sites as I feel they are damaging enough to my brand without me helping their Google rank, but you can see the address of the retail site from the image above and the blog can be found at shoeper-woman.blogspot.com (note: all of the links in this post are nofollow, and this is the only time I will link to these sites.) First of all, I want to clarify that these sites have absolutely no connection to Shoeperwoman.com or to Midas Media. I realise it’s confusing for people as they are using the same name, and writing about the same subjects, often in exactly the same way (i.e. using phrases like “shoeper-hero”, “Shoeper-man” etc.) but there is no connection, so please know that this is the only “Shoeperwoman” site run by us (with the exception of our associated Twitter and Facebook accounts, which also use the “Shoeperwoman” name), therefore if you come across these sites, or any others, please be aware that they have nothing to do with us.
The other company is also using the name “Shoeper-woman” on Twitter, Facebook and other sites, which I realise adds to the confusion. If you are in any doubt whether something you read online is being said by me, or by the owner of the other sites, please feel free to get in touch.
When I found out about these sites, I immediately contacted the other site owner, who tells me that she does not believe there is any issue with her using exactly the same name as me for her two sites (although she has put up a disclaimer today which you can read on her blog). Obviously I’m disappointed about this. I set up Shoeperwoman.com two years ago: it is my livelihood (along with my other blogs), and Terry and I have worked very hard to build up the brand to where it is today. It’s disheartening, to say the least, to find that someone has knowingly decided to use exactly the same name and idea for a very similar project (The other site owner tells me she was aware of the existence of this site but decided to use the name regardless), and obviously this will make it much harder for both of the respective businesses to thrive, as rather than having our own unique identities, these two new sites have effectively set themselves up in direct competition to us instead.
(Not my Shoeperman…)
What the other site owner didn’t tell me during our lengthy email conversations, was that not only has she knowingly used a name which has been associated with my blog for the past two years, she has also applied for the UK trademark to the name “Shoeper-woman”. If she is successful in this application, this would mean that I would no longer be able to use the name I have made mine, and this site will effectively cease to exist. As the revenue from this site forms a large part of my income, I’m sure you can understand my distress at this, and the reason I’m writing this post.
To answer the obvious question that has cropped up in relation to this: no, we do not own the trademark to the name “Shoeperwoman”. We looked into doing this when we launched the site, however the very high cost of this was prohibitive for us, as it is for most other bloggers, and so we were forced to rely on the goodwill and common sense of our fellow bloggers/site owners, and to hope that most people would prefer to create something that’s truly their own rather than to duplicate another brand. Obviously that isn’t always the case: some of you may remember the issues Jennine Jacob’s The Coveted encountered recently when another site launched using the same name, and if this can happen to me, and can happen to a well-known blogger like Jennine, it can happen to anyone.
We have now lodged our own trademark application for the name, which means we’re already hundreds of pounds out of pocket in our bid to assert our right to continue to use a name which has been associated with this site for two years now, and which I have also used on Twitter, Facebook and other sites for the same length of time. Having taken advice on this, we believe it could cost us much more to defend our brand, which is obviously causing us a great deal of stress. This is where you come in:
How you can help Shoeperwoman:
Obviously this is a source of huge concern to us, so we would welcome any support our readers and friends have to offer us, in the shape of comments, re-tweets and advice. If you are a blogger, and would like to mention this issue on your site, I would be eternally grateful, not just for my sake, but because as I mentioned above, this is something that can happen to anyone, and it is devastating to work so hard on something for so long, only to see it put at risk like this. Also, any links back to Shoeperwoman.com (especially those using the word “Shoeperwoman” as the link text) would be a huge help to us right now as they will help cement our position in search engines and support our right to the trademark when we file our dispute.
I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who has emailed Terry and I with their support over this issue: it really means the world to us to know that we have loyal readers who will continue to support us no matter how many other “Shoeperwomen” crop up![Edited to add: for legal reasons, I was required to remove the name of the other party involved in this dispute, hence the slightly-awkward phraseology, and repetition of the word “site”!]
I’m copying this post (with a direct link) on my blog. Hope it helps and wishing you the best of luck!
Thank you so much!
have you looked in to asserting your intellectual rights in SCotland we have the intellectual property company – they may be able to help or point you in the right direction for support. I do hope that you win this fight!
Thanks! We have an IP lawyer working on it now for us, so hopefully we can get some kind of resolution soon!
Oh! I don’t know exactly how to help you, but you notice this,http://hubpages.com/hub/Copied-Content, but i think that no one could help you becouse this is relative about copies.
Let me read all the messages, I understand your situation. I’d like to help you.
Hi to the real Shoeperwoman – absolutely gutted to hear your story and can’t believe someone can be so vindictive to take away your livelihood like that. I wish I could offer you some useful advice but I can’t – so instead you have my support and I will be tweeting about this for you.
Good luck in your quest for justice
It is so very obvious to me that she DID indeed know of you prior, otherwise why would she use a “-“? Any ideal url is without any characters that are not letters, I have no doubt that she would have at least put in shoeperwoman.com in her search. Good luck in your battle, I have followed this blog for over a year now and would be so sad to see it disappear.
I found this blog about a year ago, and i’ve been reading it almost every day since. I did’t even check out the other shoeper-woman blog, because, if they can’t even think about an original name that site’s wont be neither orinal, interesting or funny like yours amber. i think laura’s tactics are just wrong , launching a site obviously knowing about this one, because she had to do some research before she did it and obviosly the way she’s threating you. and although she legally can do this it doesn’t mean that it is ethical or right, amber, you’ve made shoeperwoman what it is and if this situation ends up badly 4 you i hope you’ll keep blogging about shoes somewhere else, i’ll follow you. lots of luck
lol i meant original haha
I just noticed copying the post had in itself a direct link so that made it super easy to repost, but I just want to make sure I got this right: Shoeperwoman is in the “tabs”, should I put something more there? your name or something like that?
If you could make the link text say “Shoeperwoman” that would be a huge help as it will help our search engine ranking and support our claim to the name – the more links we have pointing to this site, espeically with “shoeperwoman” as the text, the better, basically!
Oh, dear Shoeperwoman (THE REAL ONE) I’m disgusted about this ç_ç
If You are agree with me, I’m interested to post on my blog a link to this your post: a lot of my friends/readers are your followers so I can talk them about that.
I would love for you to post about it, Momo, thank you so much for your support, I can’t tell you how much it means to me.
I posted few minutes ago on my blog, facebook and twitter. Some people have already read them and they would shared info (ASAP) again and again ç_ç
I can’t believe this has happened Amber, feel awful for you and Terry, I know how hard you both work. I am an avid reader of all of your blogs; Shoeperwoman being my favourite. I am not a blogger but would like to do whatever I can to support you. I normally start off on Dollface and work my way through your blogs from there but if it is any help I will Google Shoperwoman everytime and go from there! If there is anything else I can be doing please let me know!
Googling Shoeperwoman rather than Shoperwoman would probably be a good start, d’oh!
Absolutely shocking that this woman thinks she can get away with ripping off your brand and IP. I’m sure she won’t get away with it though. Let us know what else we can do to help you out, Amber.
Just had an idea: if all the bloggers participating in the shoe challenge would in every shoe challenge post link to your site, that might help right? (just what exactly is a link text?) will do it on my old shoe challenge posts:)
Yes, that would be a HUGE help! Link text just means the part of the text that you click – for instance, in a lot of my posts, it will say “click here” to go to the site, and the words “click here” are a clickable link. What we’re looking for is for the word “Shoeperwoman” to be clickable and to lead to the home page, so in html it woud be Shoeperwoman , although without all of the spaces (had to put them in our it would just show up as a link. When it’s published, it would look like this: Shoeperwoman. Basically, the more of these we have, the better, so if you were linking from your shoe challenge posts, that would be awesome.
(I’m feeling a bit teary now. You are all wonderful.)
oh ok.that’s easy enough to do:)
It’s actually fun going thru all my old shoe challenge posts and adding a line with a link here. Like on my Vivienne W. for Melissa post I added that originally it was you that made me love her shoes:)
I don’t have a real blog, but I can certainly do that in my Shoe Challenge posts…
I really hope you and Terry get through this okay. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and wish you all the best!
YOU are our Shoeperwoman!!!
I can’t believe someone would be so inconsiderate as to use the name of your site from which you make your livelihood like this. It’s crazy. If there’s anything extra we can do to support you just let us know!
Couldn’t agree more. It’s so nasty to take advantage of other people’s hard work and efforts. I’ve been featuring your shoeperchallenge button and I link back to your blog quite regularly, and I will continue to do so.
PS: The fake Shoeperwoman sure has ugly toes. Karma maybe?
Totally backing you on this. Fuming on your behalf and hope this gets sorted as soon as possible so that you can go back to writing your excellent website.
I’ve also copied this post with links! Please tell me if it’s OK like this (http://shoeloving.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/please-help-the-real-shoeperwoman/) or if there’s anything you’d like to change/add. I can’t believe someone would do something like this and I sincerely hope all the best for you!
I’m going to do my best to support you!
I wish you the best! I know this is an awful situation. I actually am the one who did this to another, completely by accident. I thought up my blog name, Googled it, found nothing, bought the domain, made the email account and began branding. Not until a year ago did I find that an eBay store had the same name, and had it for a year before I did. She had the Twitter name, similar domains, branding, everything but a slight variation. I felt bad and emailed her but never got a response. She seems to be doing well and I am doing well (aside from people occasionally tagging the wrong person on Twitter).
Thanks, Allie (and also, I am so thrilled to get a comment from you, I love your blog!). I think these things can quite easily happen – I can understand a situation in which someone, completely independently, comes up with an idea that already exists, and believes it to be their own: I always worry that I will do this myself unwittingly – you see things online, forget you’ve seen it, think it’s a unique idea – very easily done. I’m quite willing to believe that LB came up with the name herself, but she has admitted to me that she did check, and was aware of the existence of my site when she decided to use it, which is something I find harder to understand. Thanks again for the support 🙂
That’s the part I really don’t understand. That someone would acknowledge you are Shoeperwoman, and that she knew you had the name first, and feels theres nothing wrong in taking that name! I just don’t understand it.
There’s not much I can do to help at all, but I will certainly change all my links to your site to say Shoeperwoman in full and RT this post.
She feels that because one of her sites sells shoes, and offers other services, that this makes it different enough from mine for her to be able to use the name without causing confusion. I disagree – I get dozens of emails and comments every week from people who think I’m selling the shoes I feature here, so I know that people confuse shoe sites and shoe blogs aaaalll the time. I also think that anyone who is familiar with my site who came across another shoe-based website called “Shoeperwoman”, regardless of what it was doing, could reasonably expect that it had some connection to me. I’ve already had a call from someone asking if the site was mine, so obviously it does happen. And as for the blog – it’s a blog called “shoeperwoman”, featuring posts about shoes she likes, and making reference to “shoeperman” and “shoeperhero” etc, so I must admit, I really struggle to understand how that’s different from my site in any respect other than the design.
how bout quality? I looked her up and the shoe being stold there are awful!
In my opinion it definitely is similar enough to cause confusion, like you say you get people wanting to buy shoes from you all the time! And the phrases are definitely yours. Her design is definitely different to yours, and not in a good way. At all. I know that doesn’t help, but it’s true.
I don’t understand how people can be so inconsiderate and are still able to look at themselves in the mirror.
I’ve blogged about it both on my fashion related as well as on my personal blog and will keep on spreading the word on twitter as well as with my fashion loving friends.
I hope this will get sorted soon.
Whoops, ended too soon! Anyway, will Google you and go to YOUR site, will support you! Good luck to you!
I’m going to write a post about it tonight, linking to this one.
It’s sad there’re people who find it normal to parasite on someone else’s work. It’s sad, that bloggers have to defend themselves while doing nothing wrong..
Amber, your blogs were the first fashion blogs I ever read. I started to blog myself thanks to Shoeperwoman and The Fashion Police.
You are our REAL Shoeperwoman.
I’m sure you will win this battle!
I remember how excited you were when you first came up with the name and concept for Shoeperwoman and I have first hand experience of all the hard work (even whilst on holiday) that you both put into your blogs. With you all the way.
Hi. It would seem that this is a clear case of ‘passing off’ as I’m sure Caveat Calcei has mentioned (clever name by the way) – however I suspect it’s complicated by your not actually selling shoes. But I really hope that common sense wins through and her case is rejected. It’s quite unbeleivable that someone should do this – how low people can be.
I’ll do a post on this later on and link to here.
Don’t worry, people power forced the other Coveted blog to back down, we will do the same for you.
So, this has made me realise that I need to have a “like” button for the comments field on this site! I’m completely overwhelmed by the response to this – I obviously have a lot of stuff to deal with in relation to this today, so I’m not managing to reply individually to all of your comments and tweets, but I am reading them (and having a bit of a cry at them, actually), and just want to say how very much I appreciate the support. I’ve always known how lucky I was to have such amazing readers, but this is very humbling. Thank you so much.
I know I don’t comment here very often, but I’ve been reading your blogs since before Shoeperwoman even existed, and I remember when you launched it and how you gave Terry the credit for coming up with the Shoeperwoman idea.
I can’t help but be furious on your behalf. If it was anything tangible, let’s say for example’s sake a bracelet, that was stolen, a rection along the lines of “How dare you steal my bracelet, my husband gave me that bracelet!” would be completely normal. I doubt stealing the Shoeperwoman name would have you feeling any different (except perhaps worse, since this is your livelihood).
In any case I wish I could do more, be sure to let us know if there is any other ways to help!
Best of luck.
Just wanted to say that I read your blogs often, including my favorite, Forever Amber. I enjoy your sense of humor and fashion views. Regardless of the legal issue—this other blogger knows that ethically & morally, this is so WRONG. Clearly she doesn’t care, which says alot about her.
i can’t honestly believe some people. she knew ‘Shoeperwoman’ was yours and still decided to use it any way? disgusting.
will link back to this on my blog- hope it helps
This is just wrong. About a year ago there was a girl commenting on my blog how beautiful she thinks my blog was. And after a few weeks I found out she “stole” my template. It was a free template so she had every right to use it. But she modified it exactly like I did. It really pissed me off. I guess that a lot of people does things like this.
Anyway, I’ll made a few links to you on my blog and hope for the best.
Oh yes, and I saw someone making the same signature as what I have after visiting my blog. Ah well, some people just don’t use their brain for anything else but to copycat. It’s very annoying.
In Amber’s case this gets to actually stealing property and trying to destroy her source of income. I can’t find words to express how I feel.. speechless.
I don’t frequently comment here, but today I just had to… I’ve been reading all your blogs for a long time, and I’m shocked to see that some people just don’t respect other people’s work and property. I’ll be cheering for you to get this solved, and of course,I’ll keep reading everyday! I’m sure it’ll eventually be okay…
If I had a project I was really proud of, I’d want to know I came up with it myself. As you obviously do. And this girl obviously doesn’t. It’s a shame. Best of luck in keeping ownership of what you’ve worked so hard to build. x
Just to second Fi – there’s power in numbers and you have so many loyal followers, I know we can beat the imposter into submission…
Anything we can do, let us know. xx
Once I am back at my own computer this weekend I will certainly copy your blog on mine and link back. I think this is really bad, and really underhand. After you have worked hard to build up your business someone had decided to simply come along and effectively steal it. It’s wrong, and you would there to be some unwritten code between bloggers! Aside from anything else, it shows this other person up to be very unimaginative! I hope you win!
This is so shady (and really stressful, I’m sure). I’ve been reading about the Coveted rip-off fiasco, and the way they backed down gives me some hope you may be victorious here, although if everyone stuck to their own ideas you wouldn’t have to go through all this… I think your imposter might start to freak out when she realises how not cool the internet is finding it, though. *fingers crossed* Anyhoo, I’ve Tumblred, RT-ed, FB-ed, and linked you up on my blog. Let us know if there’s anything else we can do. x
I have been a reader of your blog for quite a while, but this is the first time I have commented – and I just wanted to say that I am sure everything will be OK – I mean, there has to be justice in this world, right?! 🙂
Oh crikey, what an awful thing to happen! I’ll make sure I link my shoe posts back here from now on and will go back and revisit the old ones when I get the chance.
I do hope it all manages to get sorted out – it must be incredibly disheartening. I think you do a fantastic job here – I found your blog when I was unemployed and a bit down with the world, and it’s always cheered me up no end.
I’m so sorry to hear about this mess Amber. I’ll definitely do my part to google and link. I don’t know if it would be more trouble than it’s worth, but would it be possible to set up a donation account through paypal? I’m a grad student so I don’t have a ton of extra money, but I’d be willing to give $20 to the copyright effort. Your sites have given me so much free entertainment over the years (it’s gotta be like 4 years I’ve been visiting your various sites). I’d love to give back after all you’ve done for us.
That is incredibly sweet of you to offer, Brittany, thank you so much, I’m incredibly touched that you would think of that. I would really hate to ask people for donations, so I’m really hoping it won’t ever come to that – we’ve now paid to lodge a trademark, and it’s free to dispute Laura’s existing claim, so we’re keeping everything crossed that it won’t go much further than that, although we’re preparing ourselves for the possibility of more expense. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen!
I thought the same thing! Fingers crossed too, but I’d certainly be happy to donate if it could make any difference – right now I just want to be able to give you a big hug! x
Oh my God! I just arrived from the university and saw all of what’s going on, otherwise I’m always online and commenting here! I think the idea is good, in fact, consider it, pls. We all love your site and I’m sure many will be pleased to contribute. Why do u have to go through all this “on your own”? You are not alone – you have us, for sure! So, don’t be too “proud” if you need to ask for contributions; after all, we all have a lot, a loooooot of fun reading your blog!!!! COUNT ON US!!!!! REALLY!
Hi Amber, I’ve also posted about your problem on my blog. I’ve been reading your blogs now for over a year and have seen the sheer effort you put into making sure everything is regularly updated and looking its best. I sincerely hope you get a positive result from this.
Hey Amber, so sorry to hear of this, how anyone can be so mean-spirited is beyond me! I love your blogs and have been following you for over a year, and I love your sites and the content.
I’ve posted about your problem on my blog, so hoping that will help in some way. I hope you get it sorted soon, and that you don’t let this horrid girl ruin the rest of your day!
It’s amazing what some people think they can get away with. As others have said it would be one thing if this other person came up with the idea on her own and then found out it was already in use, but for her to admit that she was aware of your site and still went ahead with the name, along with the Mr. Shoeperman nickname, is insane.
I’m the first one to admit that I am not creative, and am awful with coming up with names, which is a huge reason why I don’t have a blog (the other being that no one would really want to read about my life anyway, all it consists of is school at the moment). If someone is not creative enough to come up with the name for their own project on their own, then they do not deserve to have that project in my opinion.
I’ve been reading all your blogs forever, and like I said I have no blog and really no online presence, but I’m supporting you in thought! I wonder if that’s why you’ve been getting emails asking where to buy certain things, when you have to post about how you’re not a shop?
I don’t think it has anything to do with those emails – I’ve been getting those ever since Shoeperwoman launched, and these new sites only launched this year. The frequency with which people contact me thinking I’m selling shoes does prove how easily people will confuse a shoe blog with a shoe retailer, though – I would imagine I’ll get a lot more of them if this site continues, which is another reason I was surprised to find out about it: I can’t imagine that Laura would be happy to know that many of her potential customers will end up on my site instead of hers!
I work for a charity that coordinates a national event. Locally the individual events are managed by local teams. We had to trademark the name a couple of years ago so that we could control the use of it by the local teams. A colleague did all the hard work, and there was a lot involved, but mostly it was proving that we’d been using the name ourselves for many years and collecting all the evidence to prove that. So I’d hope that, given it must be pretty easy to demonstrate that you’ve been using the name before she was, your claim should be fairly quite straightforward.
It’s sad that someone took the name in the first place, but worse that shes now taking action to prevent you from using it! Good luck and hope it all works out.
Heres that trademark application, its been filed but not published yet: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-find-number?detailsrequested=C&trademark=2572310
You’ll need to file a TM7A to oppose it from here: https://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-os-forms/tm7a-introduction-pro/tm7a-online.htm
I know, we’ve already done it 🙂
No, you haven’t. The application has not yet been published. You can only oppose registration of a UK trade mark application once publication has occurred. A TM7A just extends the deadline for filing the opposition. A TM7 is the form that you use to oppose the application. Do you mean that you have filed a trade mark application?
Filing a good, worthwhile trade mark application and fighting trade mark oppositions is specialised work. You need a proper trade mark attorney to deal with this because, based upon what you have said so far, your only chance of defeating Ms Eastleigh’s application is to allege prior rights in passing off. To succeed, you will need professionally-prepared evidence because you will have to show that your prior use is sufficiently extensive that you have built up goodwill in the term SHOEPERWOMAN and that use of it by another trader misappropriates that goodwill thereby causing you damage. That’s not the easiest case to prove.
Your trade mark attorney ought to also be able to give advice on how likely it is you will succeed and you can then decide whether this is worth fighting. Before you go and see them, educate yourself by reading the IPO’s guidance on trade marks, which is easy to follow. If you look at itma.org.uk, you can find a suitable local trade mark attorney.
The basic rule in trade mark law is first to file gets the mark. As filing a basic application costs you only a few hundred pounds, not to do so is penny-wise and pound foolish. After all, what is your business worth?
I hope that you succeed, and that you manage to retain use of your brand. For every other blogger reading this and linking to it, get your trade mark applications now. It is stupid to invest time, effort and money on designing your sites, marketing them to advertisers and your interest groups and purchasing domain names and then to neglect an investment of a few hundred pounds which means that someone else won’t be able to register your brand. No other business would do this, so why would you?
“The basic rule in trade mark law is first to file gets the mark. As filing a basic application costs you only a few hundred pounds, not to do so is penny-wise and pound foolish. After all, what is your business worth?”
We actually filed this today, as soon as we became aware of Laura’s application. We’re aware that we can’t file the dispute until it is pblished – our lawyer will be able to assist with this.
Just to second everyone here, I’ve posted your post and linked back to your site, quite fuming in your behalf! I have been ranting to my office about it all day, they are all entirely behind you!
My dearest Shoeperwoman (the one and only!), it breaks my heart to see what has been done to you. I’ve been away from your blogs for a while due to school work, but I’ve always loved them all. It seems so unfair that after all the work you and Terry have done to keep these projects going, somebody can just waltz in and try to steal not just a name, but a complete identity. I sincerely hope things work out for the best, and I’m sure they will. We’re all on your side on this!
I’m not much of a blogger, but I have shared the link about your plight on FB. What that person has done is flat out immoral, and I hope illegal as anything. You have HISTORY. That should stand for something.
Cheering you on from across the Pond. Good Luck!
What can I say – thieves found a new niche. It is really infuriating. I hope you will be able to resolve this soon. Maybe you could have a fund raising on your blog, so people could donate to help you with the copyright fees? I myself am out of the job currently, so I can just support this cause by sending good thoughts and linking to your website, but maybe other readers could actually help you financially?
Good idea, I’d be happy to contribute!
Oh dear, I’m so sad to hear this. I don’t comment here a lot, but today I had to. I found your blogs a year ago and they have not only been an inspiration but basically my fashion guide since then. They have cheered me up when I felt like crap, they have helped me when I lost two very dear family members and I can’t thank you (and Terry) enough for that. You’re one of those persons who just inspires everybody. Today, I’ll write about this in my blog, and if there’s something else we can do for you, just ask. =)
I’d just like to say that there are a number of quite significant inaccuracies in this post about me, and it is very misleading.
I did mention in my ‘lengthy emails’ to Amber about the TM registration and I certainly did not mention I knew about her site and decided to go ahead and use it anyway!
There have also been several deliberate mis-spellings above to make it seem more similar to my site (and some very notable ommisions about our points of difference) There are actually a number of differences. For one, I’m a shoe designer and retailer, not a FT blogger.
Would also like to say thanks for the messages of support that I have received for this, after such a scathing and inaccurate attack on me, and my business! I’m glad to see that there are so many people that do not condone this behaviour.
Finally I encourage Amber to speak to me rather than post inaccurate, libellous and slanderous inaccurate info about me going forward.
I have offered Amber a number of amicable solutions and also asked Amber to put her solicitor in touch with mine, to remain professional and personable during this dispute even though it’s difficult for both of us.
I’ll just take this point-by-point:
1. “I encourage Amber to speak to me rather than post inaccurate, libellous and slanderous inaccurate info about me going forward.”
Actually, in the email you sent to me last night you specifically told me NOT to contact you again, as you felt there was no value in our continuing to communicate with each other. I have respected that wish. In the email you sent me this morning, you told me that you had placed a disclaimer on your blog, and that you advised me to do the same. This is my disclaimer, and I invite you to tell me exactly which points of the post you find to be “libellous” or inaccurate so I can address them. Furthermore, in this morning’s email, you also suggested that we try to “make a bit of a PR story about it” for what you described as “Shoeperwoman Vs Shoeperwoman”. Your suggestion was to issue a press release. I’ve decided to simply use a blog post instead as I find that to be a more useful PR tool than the press release you suggested. I still have the copies of your emails and am happy to publish them if you like to demonstrate exactly what was said. I quote from your email of this morning: “Actually thinking on it, maybe we could make a bit of a PR story about it, ShoeperWoman vs. Shoeper-Woman and make out that they are nemesis rivals, and do a press release about how different they are. This could be good for both of us.”
2. I have just re-read all of your emails and do not see any reference to you stating that you had registered “Shoeperwoman” as a trademark. Happy for you to clarify which one of your emails states this.
3. “I certainly did not mention I knew about her site and decided to go ahead and use it anyway!”
From your first email to me: “Before registering my domain, I did a quick check that there were no UK sites with the name, (in fact your name came up as a US blog, for American readers…hence my question to you below) and as far as I was concerned, a US blog was not similar to a UK shoe shop. “ This clearly states that you were aware of my site before you registered your domain. As we’ve discussed, the fact that you mistakenly believed it to be a US site has no relevance to this issue.
4. “I have offered Amber a number of amicable solutions”
The only solution you have offered me is your suggestion that we each link to each other’s sites, with a disclaimer. I have done that in this post, however it does not change the fact that you are trying to register a trademark using a name I’ve used for two years.
In short, Laura, I wrote this post at your suggestion: the first part of the post clarifies that there is no connection between our sites, the second part explains the likely impact on my business of your trademark registration. Again, if you provide me with a list of each “libellous” or “inaccurate” statement I will be happy to clarify them.
Just to back Amber up here, I have read all the emails and Laura clearly described the fact that she found this blog, then only afterwards registered her domain, then nearly a month later filed for a trademark. This is a indisputable fact.
In addition at no point did you mention you had filed a trademark.
Once again, key parts of my mails have been left out to change the meaning. The idea of the SW v S-W PR release was to highlight exactly the differences.
When you look up ShoeperWoman on directory searches, it comes up with a US registration and the description states it’s a US site with mainly American readers!
I am not willing to enter a slanging match, it’s not my style. I suggest you give me a call if you would like to chat through with me, or otherwise yes, ask your solicitor to write to me.
When you Google Shoeperwoman the first bit of text you will see, which is the sites title tag is…
Shoeperwoman’s shoe blog: your guide to UK and US stiletto heels designer & ugly shoes
I rest my case.
I made a new post on my blog about this, hope it helps. I don’t have much of a following though…
I am really disappointed to see the way that you have reacted today, and in organising an inaccurate hate campaign against me via your blog.
I think I’ve been more than willing to talk with you, and reach an amicable solution and today reached out to you to offer to bookmark and outline the points of differentiation between our sites.
You have posted a lot of misleading, inaccurate and incomplete information about me and my business on your site today and it’s been hurtful to see someone act so unprofessionally and damaging to my business and my name.
Therefore I wanted to once again reach out to you, and ask if you wanted to have a proper discussion (so we can both operate in our respective niches…I categorically did not see your site first and decide to set mine up anyway – I explained all of this to you, but think you’ve misinterpreted my comments.)
I did not set out to close you down, or take over, and registering the TM was about protecting me as a business…I would do that for any business I start, it’s the first rule of setting up a company. Seeing any form of Shoeper-Woman wasn’t already registered I didn’t think that ShoeperWoman was a serious company, I thought it was an American site, and just a bit of fun, and not a competitor as you don’t retail shoes or design them.
I would still consider talking about the linking suggestion I made earlier, a joint statement, or even tweaking my branding (or not using certain phrases if you believe they are ‘yours’) so I’m more than open to those type of discussions (or others if you have any bright ideas) but you MUST remove your earlier post about me that was slander and cyberbullying, and I also expect an apology on your site and an end to this hate campaign.
If you are not willing to do this, I’m going to speak to the police in the morning about pressing charges against you for harrassment, slander, and cyber-bullying.
I’m sure this is something we could both do without right now, but as above, I’m not out to cause or do any malicious damage, so I’d appreciate the same professional courtesy.
As previous, still wish you the best with your sites and business ventures,
We have given you the opportunity to rectify your mistake and you told us not to contact you any more and instead to deal with your lawyers.
As per our original email to you the only way we are willing to move forward is:
If you register a new domain and move your existing site onto it. Within 28 days of reaching agreement with us you complete the transfer of shoeper-woman.co.uk to Hot Igloo Productions LTD. We will then voluntarily enter into a binding agreement to have the domain forwarded to your new domain as well as forwarding any emails for a period no less than 2 years. This will mean you will not lose any traffic as anyone typing in shoeper-woman.co.uk would be automatically forwarded to your new site. This also gives you a period of over 2 years to change your stationary and any other references to your old domain.
To comment from the point of view of a fellow blogger, shoe lover and writer, this is not a hate campaign. Instead it is a lot of people who understand the time, dedication and effort that goes into developing a blog/brand (and a loyal following), and who are aware how easily such success can be taken away by piggybacking blogs.
All we hope is that as a blogger and businesswomen yourself you will understand the unfairness of the situation and do the decent thing, rather than insisting on destroying years of hard work when the solution is so easy and so efficient. You will not lose traffic, hence changing your blog name should be easy and trouble free.
Perhaps consider another shoe inspired pun? Amber and Midas Media aren’t, after all, suggesting that they own the word shoe. This should (emphasis on should) be easy to resolve without causing any more pain and damage to either of you – but it does require that you own up to your mistake like an adult and endeavour to fix it.
Your transparent efforts to cast yourself as an innocent are in vain. It is obvious to anyone who views both sites that you have stolen a fair amount of intellectual property.
First, a disclaimer: none of this is intended to slander, cyber-bully, or harass you. I simply wish to tell you my opinion on what you’ve posted. These words are not intended to be hurtful, therefore, please do not report my blog based on what I’m about to say.
I agree with the many, many other comments on here. This post is not slandering your name at all, nor can it be considered cyber-bullyin or harassment. Amber’s reporting the facts, and giving us the heads-up that this site may go defunct because of this issue. She would’ve had to tell us eventually, especially if your trademark goes through.
Please let me clarify something else: this isn’t a “hate campaign” either. Amber isn’t doing anything to suggest that we should go after you. She’s reporting the facts. We can interpret this how we choose.
I, personally, choose to see your solution as highly implausible. Due to the way the internet works, it only recognizes one Shoeperwoman.com, making it impossible to work inside your “respective niches”. One of you has to change your name. That being said, it would be much more fair and easier for you to change your name, seeing as you are just starting up your site, while Amber is already well-established, having been blogging for years.
Please take this into consideration.
How terrible! I hope everything will turn out okay in the end, so don’t worry… Even if it comes to the worst, and you have to change the name of the blog, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’ll stay with you, no matter what the site is called! I can’t even imagine not having my daily dose of Midas Media blogs!
Will tweet and blog about this tonight.
I don’t see why they couldn’t have used another name, surely it’s better to create an origanal name (as you have done) than steal anothers knowing full well that someone else uses that name. Even not knowing is no excuse because they should have done research into it before setting it all up.
I’d be extremely upset if we had to lose shoeperwoman because I love your blogs so much and can’t wait to read them when I come home, this one being my favourite. As you can probably give evidence to using the name for a longer time period, logically the name is yours. I’ve shared this on FB and reposted your post on my blog, I hope it helps.
This is silly Laura you need to change the name Amber had the name first simple as that, why would you want the same name? It’s not an a one off is it if you have the same weather you knew or not, do the right thing and change it, all this mud slinging is childish, Amber’s site is great and she does an amazing job and it is her living, I also looked at your site Laura and see it is different but has wording that is almost the same as Amber’s, there are a million of us shoe fans out here and we will no doubt come across both sites I am sure you don’t want to be compared to Amber’s site. Being original is going to be way better for you, , please do the right thing X
I am trying to do the right thing; despite being the victim of a widespread hate campaign today!
I have just sent AMber and Terry a mail saying that I’m more than happy to talk to them and reach a compromise, even to look at some of my branding again (despite not being legally obliged to)
It was never my intention to upset, copy or ruin Amber’s site/livelihood. I am just a genuine person trying to make a living doing something I love. I hope that Amber ‘does the right thing’ and stops organising this inaccurate hate campaign before the police get involved.
where do you find the hate campaign? Amber issued a statement about the situation (which she is free to do) and her readers are expressing solidarity with her.
And which Laura actually encouraged me to do! She also wanted to issue a press release about it, so she was keen to generate publicity this morning.
For the record, I have not tried to orchestrate a “hate campaign”. I’ve simply stated the facts of the situation, and explained how it will impact us if Laura wins the right to trademark the name we’ve used for the past two years.To be honest, I find the “I will contact the police” comments to be threatening, as I am sure they are intended to be.
I didn’t see for a second the post as a hate campaign. But the right to display whatever one wants on her own blog and to protect herself!
I would’ve thought that repeatedly threatening to contact the police over someone’s blog post (which you advised them to write) would constitute “harrasement”, to be honest!
Reading it again, my comment may sound ambiguous… I wanted to say that Amber didn’t start any hate campaign, she can dispose on her blog whatever she wants and she needs to protect her brand, since she started it before any other!
– I’ll redo your logo to reflect your new domain name for free.
– In addition I will move your website to your new hosting space for free.
– You can have the old domain and emails forwarded for two years. A new domain like shoeper-stylist.co.uk would be acceptable to us.
I don’t think I can be much fairer than that?
And honestly you need to stop on the hate campaign trail, people are being negative to you because of your actions not because of anything Amber has said.
I do not think this is a hate campaign at all, I think you are upset because people seem cross with you, Fighting over a name that someone already had seems to be stubborn, sometimes it is hard to give in and seem you are losing face, but don’t look at it like that just see it as doing what is right, I’m sure you didn’t give your blog the same name to be difficult it seems the situation has got out of hand and to be honest its actually slightly silly all you need to do is change the name. I also think that to say you will call the police is going too far no one has threatened you you really should not waste the police time and money with such an issue, there are waymore important things they need to deal with not and arguement about the name of a blog that is plain crazy.
I love your blog! I would hate to see someone else take that name from you!
I’ve put a link to your site on my blog, linking YOUR name so others can find it and see whats happening. Best wishes.
Hi Shoeperwoman, I am a keen follower of your lovely blog and have read many othere because of you, through the challenge. I am doing my own mini challenge as its such a great idea. I am sorry you are having this hassle, I have you linked on my facebook and will spead the word to my shoe-loving friends. Chin up, right will prevail.
I’m a non-commenting longtime reader, but now seemed the time to jump in. You’ve built an amazing community and I’m sure everyone will fight this with you however we can. I’ll be visiting through Google searches from now on, it’s the least I can do.
What a horrible start to your weekend, I hope you still manage to squeeze some fun out of it even with all the drama 🙁
Hi, I’m sorry to hear about the problems, I love all your sites at read them daily. I don’t have a blog and don’t understand all your ‘cyber speak!’ but my suggestion would be to put the links back at the top of the page on fashion police so it links from there to shoeperwoman, forever amber etc. That was how i originally found this site and your other
best of luck and I hope things work out for you x
I think what no-one understands, Laura, is why when you discovered there was an existing site of the same name, you would go ahead and use that name rather than finding something fresh, let alone why you would start your own blog under that brand. It gives the impression that you want to piggyback your way to success on the back of Amber’s hard work. Perhaps that is not your intention, but surely you can see that it comes across that way.
Amber detailing your disagreement here hardly constitutes a hate campaign, nor do all the comments expressing compassion for the potential loss of Amber’s brand identity and income. I’d be extremely surprised if the police thought you had grounds for prosecution.
Omg I cant believe it, there must be something you guys can do to save the blog!! I’ll link this post in my blog tomorrow, and I’ll twit it too, hope it can help!
Dear Amber, I am so very sorry that this has happened. Why on earth can’t people just be original? If that were me I’d have backed off, apologised and thought up another name. It’s just morally wrong and the decent thing is to just try again with your own made up catchy name. Even if this duplicate name thing comes to nothing, it’s caused heartache and anxiety and that’s just plain cruel. You have my 100% support.
And if Laura’s looking, why don’t you just do the decent, honourable thing? People will respect you all the more for it.
I’ve got to say i’m completely shocked by Laura’s actions re her site name & comments on your post, clearly common courtesy & a basic understanding of right & wrong do not factor very highly with her!! unfortunately i don’t have a blog so i can’t link your post to it (but i would if i did) but i wholeheartedly support you & Terry & will be enlisting all my blog reading, shoe lovin friends to do the same….will the real ShoeperWoman please stand up…& that isn’t you Laura!
I’m so sorry for you, Amber, you dont’t deserve it. And such a mean person doesn’t deserve YOUR name and any benefit related to it. For what it’s worth, you have all my support.
Moreover, I have to say: a “blogger” who knows a certain nickname exists and is famous, and deliberately doesn’t care to think about an original one… well, in my opinion if she can’t even make this creative little effort, she can’t have success.
So sad that your hard work hasn’t been respected. I wish you luck in your efforts and please try to believe that the truth and justice! is on your side:)
really sad to read about that matter tonight.
I hope everything will be sorted very soon and that you’ll be able to carry on and promoting your brand, blog and hard-work.
It is indeed irrespectful and out of order.
Best of luck and I hope things will get better and clarified very soon,
Sorry to hear of this. This is certainly not cool of Ms. Blake to be so rude with the threat to contact the police.
I’m certainly not an attorney, but I think you have a legal foothold here even without a trademark. Your site has used this name for 2 years and you have the web domain name. It shows precedence.
I’m not a reader of this blog but do regularly enjoy your Forever Amber blog and tales (tails) of Rubin and I know that you put a lot of hard work into all your blogs. It’s a shame Ms. Blake just can’t take a back seat to the fact that she is clearly in the wrong and needs to come up with another name.
My good thoughts to you and hopes that this will be resolved soon and with minimal cost to you.
You could always send Rubin to pee on her shoes.
I only became privy to this via Brit Waugh logger on twitter today and I’m shocked! This is terrible especially as this work and brand have become your livelihood. I will be posting about this on my own blog first thing in the morning because even though I don’t know u or ur blog (until now and under awful circumstances) bloggers need to stick together and support each other! When I decided I wanted to make my own blog I had read hundreds and loved many names wishing I had only thought of it first but I would never in a million years have pinched someone else’s idea
They say imitation is the best form of flattery but in this case it seems more like a huge pain in the bum! I sincerely hope things work out for you
Cannot believe someone would do that.
You have my support 150% & I am passing this link round friends to make sure I rile up as much attention as I can!
I adamantly follow this blog & I think it would be such a disappointment if anything happened to it, not just for your readers but because of all the hard work and commitment you have put into it (which is very evident)
Hope it all works out for you, will keep it in my thoughts!
This is terrible, and so incredibly rude. Some people are just so selfish and uncaring. I’m especially sorry that you now have to interrupt your livlihood just to protect yourself from thievery.
I’ve just spent a happy half hour over at the blog of your imposter, reading all the comments left by your supporters. If anything good has come out of this awful situation, it must be to know you have so many loyal readers – and how articulate they are!
I’m sorry this has happened to you, the worry and stress must be enormous. [edited by admin] I’m not a blogger so I can’t help with links or anything. I just wanted to offer my support and say, there’s only one Shoeperwoman. And that’s you.
Hey Amber 🙂 I’ve been offline for most of the day so I’m way behind on this, but I’m so sorry this has happened to you.
I’m going to try and figure out if my blog being set to “no search engines” will be any use, but I’ll get a link up somewhere useful no matter what (as soon as I’ve figured out where that place is).
I really hope things work out with this; it seems so unfair given the level of precedence you have with the name, and this woman’s reaction is completely ridiculous. Good luck. xxx
Dear Amber, this is awful! I support you, and what this lady wants to do is totally not fair. I hope everything turns out good for you and Terry! You don’t deserve to be threated lik this after all the work and energy you’ve put into making this blog. I’m blogging about it as soon as possible!
Amber, I’ve been reading your various blogs for over two years but have never commented! Really wanted to let you know how sorry I am to hear of this messy situation and hope it all works out for you in the end! You are our only true Shoeperwoman!
Ohh, this just makes me angry! I’m not even going to go to her blog now that I know she’s done this. I don’t even care if she’s an interesting blogger or not, I wouldn’t read anyone who’s such a fake! I’ll support you always, Amber!
You are the only Shoeperwoman!! I hope you are able to successfully retain the name. How lame that someone would try to steal it from you!!! Good luck!
I too, have been a loyal reader of this blog, under the name Shoeperwoman, and think it would be awful for a competing site to succeed in taking that name from you. I will be sure to link to this site, using the word “Shoeperwoman” in all my future shoe challenge posts too. I’ve got about 40 pairs to go, so you’re in for 40 links back over the next several months.
I’m relieved to hear you have an attorney working on this problem for you, and I hope the conclusion brings a result that is acceptable and palatable to you. I think Terry’s note to your competitor offering use of “shoeper-stylist.co.uk” is more than generous, as I associate ANY use of the “shoeper” prefix with your site in my mind.
I don’t know if it’s helpful or not, but in the US, there’s a fine line between trademarks & copyrights. In the US, trademarks have to be registered, but copyrights don’t. All that’s needed to establish a copyright is creation & use of a new work, which it seems you’ve done. What I don’t know is if a trademark can be registered that might be a violation of an existing copyright. Assuming the UK recognizes a similar distinction between copyright & trademark.
Regardless, I’m sorry this has been such a source of stress for you.
I agree: I honestly think that anything with “shoeper” at the start would be a possible source of confusion for people who read this site (and there are a lot of them!), but I’m willing to compromise on that. I do think that, plus Terry’s offer to do the rebranding for free and forward the domain to Laura for two years is more than generous under the circumstances, and hopefully demonstrates that we’re NOT unwilling to compromise, and are willing to try to work with Laura to find a solution – we always have been! So far the only solution Laura has come up with is for us to both put disclaimers on our sites to minimise confusion. We actually both did this yesterday, but she’s now removed her disclaimer post and is threatening to call the police if I don’t remove mine: what can I say!
I go away for two lousy days and look what happens. I’ll write a post on my blog about it, I don’t get huge amounts of traffic but I’m sure every bit helps!
omg! shocking! i hate copycats! you have my support, all the way.
I sneaked a peek at the offending blog out of sheer curiosity and after only reading half of two posts I could categorically state that you have no competition content-wise. Hers sounds like it’s been written by a teenager let loose on a laptop for the first time, is full of grammatical errors and typos and is a poor, poor imitation. Good luck in your fight and I too am in love with the Minnie shoes on the front page. Sigh…
I will post about it soon too! I’m with you and I hope you will win the cause against this unfair person. Woman loving shoes united 🙂 Take care
if she really goes nasty on this one you might consider submitting a post on http://www.youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com
it’s a site meant to call out copycats, and its articles usually show up pretty high in a google search. so even if she manages to go through with it, googling her business would immediately show a pretty serious article about the theft, and not only posts from other bloggers (even though those seem pretty effective as well)
sometimes the commenters on that site also accomplish something. i remember a case about a girl who studied at an art school and turned out to have copied most of the work she did there. the school got tons of e-mails from people complaining when it tuned out she just went back, and now she’s not in school anymore.
Coming at this from the perspective of someone who has not come across either of the blogs or businesses before today I have to say I do somewhat see this as a hate campaign against ‘Laura’. What she has done in terms of going for the copyright is what you should have done. I am self employed and aquiring this for my own business is one of the first things I did. BEFORE I started making money. When I had no money in fact. It surely is a basic consideration of intial outlay on any project as such? You have stated that you looked into this and were aware of the process also – and made your choice not to. You were aware of the risks and here is the consequence.
You made this choice at your own peril and possible detriment and are now seeing the results of this. As far as I can see, in essence – you have no one to blame but yourself. I feel for you that your business could potentially suffer but I don’t really see how it would even be a fair deal for you to win the copyright argument. You had no intentions to apply before Laura did.
I cannot speak for how highly aware of your blog Laura was before coining the name but if you have an idea for a name for your business and come across a blog on the internet using the same word play – would that really make you stop and rename your business? You are not the first person to have had the thought that shoeperwoman is a clever play on words. You will not be the last. However, the next person who wants to name their business after it will find themselves legally unable to. Why? Because Laura used her head.
Take more care of the things that are important to you.
Kim, I think you may have misunderstood the problem here. Amber is not disputing copyright as Amber already has copyright to Shoeperwoman. Laura, by her own admission, knowing this fact went ahead and set up her site and then applied for the Trademark. She made this choice at her own peril and possible detriment. It’s certainly not the way I would start up a business but everyone has there own take on things.
But, as Kim pointed out, what Laura’s been doing isn’t actually illegal. Ethically, it stinks to high heaven (and that goes double for Laura’s threats towards Amber), and I suspect the backlash will cancel out any possible advantage that Laura might achieve, but you can’t copyright a name, and the only way of legally protecting it is to register it as a trademark. Which Amber never did.
Apologies – where I stated ‘copyright’ I was referring to ‘trademark’ I should have been more careful with my terminology I am confusing the two.
What I was essentially pointing out, as Myfanwy says, is that Laura, technically speaking isn’t doing anything wrong. In fact shes making a wise and informed business decision. Good on her. Amber could have done this. As I also said – Amber states she was fully aware she could have done this, therefore also knew of potential implications if she didn’t. She made the choice to not surrender the initial cost outlay with her eyes open.
Now its back fired. Its a shame – but she is the one at fault.
In terms of the moral standpoint, well yeah – it does suck. But again, as I put, do we KNOW that Laura maliciously set out to steal a name?
I don’t think she did. I think she thought of a clever play on words (are any of us naive enough to think that Amber is the only person to have ever merged the words ‘shoe’ and ‘superwoman’?) ran it through google, and upon finding only a blog (rather than a retail business) thought it would be ok. She has since learned its more than that to Amber and tried to make a compromise. Reasonably I think actually. Her link to this website was complimentary and nice. If I’d have visited her site first, chances are I’d have visited this one too for example.
Then theres the businss aspect of it all. There comes a point when business is business. Laura is making a wise decision to further hers by doing somthing Amber should have done if the name was important to her. She did not because she didn’t think the effort and cost outweighed the gain. And here we are. You snooze you lose.
Re The Threats, I do not see informing someone of your plans to take further legal action as a threat. It is a statement of a fact. I also think this whole article is offensive to Laura. I think that appealing to your associates and friends in the blogging world to spread the word is akin to ganging up on Laura. It is detrimental to her own business. Even if Amber has not been directly slanderous to Laura – other people have as a direct result of her actions. This probably is verging on harassment at least. Bear in mind I am unaware of the legalities, but I don’t think its right of Amber.
Lets consider for a minute – Laura, a reasonable, nice lady has a business idea revolving round a passion of hers. She thinks of a clever play on words. She googles it to check. She sees a blog by someone who had the same idea and thinks as its a blog and not a business it will be ok, and doesn’t look into it further. She creates her own business and a blog to go with it – common practice these days. Realising she wants to protect her business she applies for a trademark. Then the owner of said blog claims she stole ‘her idea’, copied her, and attempts to get her followers to repeat it everywhere they can. They do – some are nicer than others. Laura now has a mini hate campaign against her when all she was trying to do is start a small business.
Essentially I still stick to my original point. Amber, if this was as important to her should have Trademarked it. SHE DIDN’T. This is not Laura fault.
I also believe personally and morally that Laura should be granted the trademark. If you do not do it yourself don’t be surprised when somebody else does.
And applying for Trademark too? Isn’t that a classic case of not wanting something until some else gets it?! IF AMBER WANTED THE TRADEMARK SHE HAS HAD YEARS TO APPLY.
I also do not think this should be an issue of who’s website you like best. It should come down the facts. As far as I’m concerned the fact is – Laura did something you should have done a very long time ago. Don’t hold it against her.
Think of a new name, redirect people visiting this website to your new one and they’ll soon catch up. Its just a nickname. You’re not the only one to have it.
Kim, thank you for your verbose and volumous post, if as you stated “Bear in mind I am unaware of the legalities”, you should have kept it a little shorter.
In a nutshell, if Google neglected to register their trademark and you tried to copy it, you and your descendants would be paying for your theft for millenia.
Verbose really does have me in a nutshell Sling Backs – I am very wordy, I studied and worked in journalism for years so I do have a tendancy for all my writing to come across as an article!
The legality thing was directed solely in terms of the police case. I have a fairly extensive idea of the processes involved with the Trademark issue as I looked into it extensively and trademarked my own business name. I actually run two now and have done so for both.
If Google didn’t need to Trademark their name however – they would not have. There have been many cases where small companies or individuals try to make claims against Trademarked companies on the basis ‘we had the idea first’. They very very rarely win these cases because although this maybe the case – they don’t have the Trademark. Disputes like this are the reason for the ability to Trademark being. I hope that was less wordy for you! :o)
Kim, thank you for your reply, I have also registered many trademarks and patents in the course of my working life, so I am well aware of the processes and legalities involved.
For that reason, I have to inform you that your view on this particular situation is incorrect.
If a company has been using a name to trade in a particular area and someone else pops up, either copying the name or trying to register it or something similar. Even though the trademark has not been registered, the company being copied can easily invoke a passing off action.
In this particular case, there is clear cut evidence of passing off and more is emerging as I write.
True, but only if it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt with evidentry support that Laura did specifially set out to copy Amber. I’m not sure she did, even after having back-read both sites. Which is my issue with this. If two people have the same idea then the person who applies for Trademark first should get that Trademark. Regardless of who had the idea first.
If Laura did indeed copy Amber specifically to further herself I agree thats wrong. But we don’t know that, only that there are some similarities. So lets not gang up on her.
I have not said I prefer Lauras site – I don’t as it goes, I prefer this one. I haven’t said that Amber didn’t have the idea first either. I’m just stating that I think its fair game that Laura has the same idea and goes about solidifying it legally. Amber could have and should have done.
You are aware yourself of the importance of the process of Trademarking and it should have been done. Simple.
I also think that a lot of people commenting here have the inability to be inpartial as fans/friends/associates of Amber.
I had never read either blog or website before last night and although the content here is more to my taste, have no loyalties or preference over eith Amber or Laura.
As to how I got here – I follow beauty blogs and one of the girls I follow linked here.
The reason I feel so strongly about it is because in my professional life I deal with other small businesses and companies on a daily basis and it regularly effects me when they have failed to bother to make sure everything is legally solid. One of my companies is a entertainment promotions company in the South East, and if one of my acts, djs, bands etc have failed to Trademark and I’ve been punting about their name everywhere I am set to lose a lot of revenue. I consider them at fault even if someone ‘stole their name’.
Thanks for your honest feedback Kim.
I hope in time (when we are legally allowed) we can show you and everyone else the evidence that we believe more that proves: intent, priority and lack of differentiation..
Just seconding Terry, here. Kim, I’m on my way out at the moment so I only have time for a brief response – obviously I (predicatably 🙂 ) don’t agree with everything you’ve said here, but I wanted to quickly thank you for your thoughtful comments: I appreciate it.
Kim – it is also worth bearing in mind that Laura didn’t just set up a business. Had Amber been writing a blog and Laura setting up a cheesefactory obscurely called shoeperwoman, perhaps the situation would be different. However, a major component of her “business” is a directly competing shoe blog that uses the same phrasing and terminology. Just worth bearing in mind!
Kim, if only we could all acquire a trademark when we have no money, there would be no dispute 🙂
:-/ the bit lm struggling with is she stated in her profile she is a great blogger. l beg to differ. My personal opinion. As she has no followers and only negative comments, she will probably crawl back from whence she came. Amber suggest that you register accounts with WordPress, my space etc under this blog name – you don’t have to use them, but it means no one else will be able to.
I agree with Lady Cherry – after having just seen some of the drivel LB has ‘written’. I use the term loosely as she can’t actually write! And apparently, she also recently acquired a puppy. Remind you of anyone?
I understand that you are upset and that this is your livelihood but I think the other woman is getting an unnecessary amount of hate. She came up with a name, she googled to check whether anyone was using it, she saw what she thought was a US blog that would have no crossover so she went ahead. It is really being presented (not necessarily by you but by a lot of the comments) that this is someone who saw your site and decided to make money for herself off the back of it. This is not the case. If you did not trademark, copyright it, whatever, then being the first to come up with something doesn’t count for anything. Some of these comments are cruel,’ she will probably crawl back from whence she came’ ‘poor poor imitation”like a teenager let loose on a laptop for the first time”the woman is a joke – to me that is cyber bullying and not acceptable. it seems it is her that needs to be saved and not you
Rona you say “she came up with a name, she googled to check whether anyone was using it, she saw what she thought was a US blog that would have no crossover” and then Rona, she set up her own blog using the very same name and terminology. Integrity fail. Laura needs to be saved from herself.
I don’t understand why everyone is being so horrible to the poor woman, she thought the name was an american blog which would have no crossover with a uk shoe shop so she went ahead and used the name. She trademarked it because it wasn’t already. Now people are leaving really mean comments about her, much nastier than what she did in the first place. This is beginning to turn into a hate campaign. Shoeperwoman I hope that you didn’t intend your followers to say such nasty things about the other woman and I hope that you send out the message that what you want is continued support towards this blog and not hatred towards hers. She did nothing wrong, you left yourself vulnerable legally, you are in a position of power, please use it to stop all of the hatred
Whilst I haven’t commented on Laura personally (and won’t) she needs to understand that when trading and writing on the internet reputation is everything. A young business who earns this type of reaction will find it very difficult to prosper. As someone who has made their living from the internet for the last 5 years I do have a lot of experience with this.
Her reputation is now blown – her business is fledging but she has chosen to go about it in a way that to all intents and purposes lacks both integrity and originality. Her posts have brought nothing sympathetic to her case and she has posted conflicting stories and comments which seem to indicate criminal proceedings will be brought to bear.
None of this helps to convince people to view her side of the story favourably and when you set yourself up (deliberately or not) to be compared to an existing entity then you have to be prepared to be found wanting. And she has. She’s an adult who has to take responsiblity for her own actions, and learn from any mistakes.
Rather than viewing this as a “hate campaign” she should heed some friendly advice. Take Terry’s more than generous offer. Start with a clean slate. Build your reputation from scratch. Even if she wins the trademark, it will be a hollow victory as her site as it stands is more or less done. Anyone who finds it through Google will also be able to see some mention of this.
It would be a set back for Amber, and horrible for her, but she is talented and professional and we will all go with her if she has to start again. Amber brings wit, humour and an excellent writing style to the table – not to mention 100% original content and concepts. This is why laura finds herself on the receiving end of so much ire.
Amber has the backing of a lot of followers which Laura does not and Laura needs to bear this in mind and also ask herself why that might be.
The picture of the show she posted . . . ugly.
I have been reading your website for a long time . . and I love it! It looks like she just wants attention and is flapping her arms going “LOOOOOOOK @ MEH! NAOW!!11!!” Sewatheart, that just makes you look like a silly little child!
Amber you RULE! I love you and all of your sites, you rock, never forget that.
Karma WILL kick her in the tush.
My wise husband, on hearing of this situation, suggested some kind of fund where interested supporters could make a donation to help with legal costs and court shenanigans. As a fan of the Real Shoeperwoman, I would gladly contribute and encourage others to do the same!
Wishing to be the least offensive I could possibly be – if I have money to donate somewhere, it will be to a charity or cause close to my heart to ease the suffering and pain of another living thing or protect the planet and environment I am luckily enough to live on.
Not to help get someone out of the mess of legal venerability they left themselves in. This isn’t a suggestion I agree with Amber!
I echo Ronas comments too – try and stop the hatred. Perhaps put a nb at the bottom of your original post that personal comments on Laura or her work which don’t directly focus on the situation in hand, in an analytical, fair and adult way – will be removed or edited.
This be bullshiz.
Funny thing is, I saw something in a store yesterday that made me think of this site. It was a parody of the “Keep calm and carry on” poster, but in pink, with shoes subbed for the crown, and the words “Keep calm and buy shoes” underneath. Now I think I shoulda bought it and mailed it off to you as a pick-me-up.
I’ve done my little bit … http://cheapchickpicks.blogspot.com/2011/04/amber-needs-your-help.html and shared the links on Twitter and Facebook and asked my friends to help as well. I hope this person does not get away with stealing your intellectual property.
I love your blogs (especially shoeperwoman and fashion police) and I can’t believe somebody would do something like this! But I’m glad to know you’ve taken action quickly to a situation like this, and it’s also a good idea to keep Laura’s emails as you can use them as evidence in court. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!
anyone else think ‘Kim’ may actually be Laura? or maybe a friend of hers??
She has a very strong opinion about this and seems rather cross, It is plain for everyone else to see Amber has done no wrong, Laura should step down say sorry for all the stress she has caused and CHANGE HER SITE NAME simple.
I got that impression too. If Kim only came across both websites on Saturday, how does she know that the link Laura deleted on Friday was complimentary? It wasn’t even there by the time Kim says she found out about all of this. Going by the length and number of her comments she comes across as having much more than a casual interest, as someone who just found out about it all yesterday and doesn’t know either of the people involved.
totally agree and was thinking the same thing about it being Laura, simply it seemed a weird way to comment.
btw Amber how are you holding up? behind you all the way!
I’m not too bad, thanks 🙂 Just back from a lovely lunch with friends (in the sunshine!), so we’ve managed to get a bit of of fun in, although it’s not nice being threatened by someone, of course: still a bit in shock about that!
Kim definitely isn’t Laura. Even if she hadn’t explicitly said that she prefers Amber’s site, she’s a noticeably better writer.
As for the level of interest she’s showing, I can easily see where she’s coming from – especially as there’s been a lot of emotive, strongly partisan comment here but not very much that looks coolly and dispassionately at the actual facts.
What sort of idiot launches a blog (or tries to register a trademark) for a name that is clearly already in use? Or is this just another copycat…?
I think this is shocking. It’s pretty disgusting behaviour on the part of LB. I hope you find comfort in the huge amount of support you have.
I agree strongly with Claire, who points out that she has done a great deal of damage to her reputation and I’ve blogged about it. In the unlikely event that she does win any legal battle, she’ll struggle to get her business going and it will be very difficult for her to disentangle her name from this sorry affair.
All the best to you Amber.
I can’t believe people do that! And I also want to add that you have MUCH better taste than she does (in my opinion, anyway)
Amber and Terry,
I’ve been reading your blogs from the beginning, and just want to offer my support. I enjoy everything on them, I’ve only recently begun commenting. I’m so sorry you’re both having to go through this, It’s not only unfair and damaging to your livelyhood, but to your readers as well.
I am incensed by this Amber. Unbelievable! Going to share this now. In the meantime, put a TM symbol all over your name in all your social media spaces, this instant!
That would be absolutely wonderful, thank you so much!
I will mention this on my blog, facebook and twitter. This unfortunate situation can affect any one of us, it’s important to we unify and bring to light unethical behavior. I’m really sorry to hear that you are having to go through this and I wish you the best of luck.
The House in the Clouds
What a nightmare. Good luck. Karma will undoubtedly get her, but in the meantime let’s hope the trademark office sort her out..
Her tagline is really creative… “saving the world from ugly shoes.” It’s a lot like the one from Solestruck- “to rid the world of ugly shoes one pair at a time” hmm… Coincidence #2??
Well spotted! I wonder if Laura thought Solestruck was “just a blog” and “not a serious business” too, or if it’s the fact that they’re American that makes it OK to copy them?
To me it seems as if she tried to mix some Shoeperwoman with some Fashion Police… how clever! 😐
I thought that too!
What an infuriating and complicated situation! This blog has clearly been in existence for a much longer time and material has blatantly been lifted from your website and used that other vile women’s. I’d like to believe it was all an unfortunate coincidence, but it’s fairly blatantly not. Good luck Amber!
I’m very sorry for you, and I’ve just posted on my blog about your website, with lots of clickable link saying ‘shoeperwoman’ 🙂
Hope it’ll helps!
Laura’s blog has been updated, have you seen it? There’s an interesting post there. Comments have also been disabled…I really hope everything works out for you Amber x
The use of “ommission” (sic) where it looks like she means “admission” made me chuckle.
1. Someone or something that has been left out or excluded.
2. The action of excluding or leaving out someone or something.
There’s a whole chunk-a-omission going on over there – omission of who is the rightful owner of the Shoeperwoman name!
this has been done without any ommision of liability but to minimise any confusion
Note: 9:07pm she’s amended it at some point since I posted so you know she’s lurking here. I expect your stats package tells you that anyway.
It’s interesting that on that post Laura says she’s happy to answer any questions, but she’s closed comments and is ignoring everyone on Twitter. How are people supposed to ask questions, then? Email her and be threatened with police action?
We’ve posted on our story/blog about your site! We’ve never made a non-story post before, but we figured this warranted an exception. Sorry I took so long, but I wanted to check with my co-writer to make sure it was okay. Good luck, Amber, and you have both our full support! <3
Noticed her blog has banner ads for Schuh which if I was Schuh I would not be happy about. I for one wouldn’t want to associate my brand with someone who steals brands. Schuh is on twitter….. Maybe a few of us should tweet asking if they mind their brand be associated with this story. Then they could make their own informed choice.
Oh my god! I can’t believe it! Well I have had my one and only look at the other website and its such a blatant rip off! She even has a doggie dress up section to mirror the cuteness of you having Rubin! Bet it makes people stealing your face for eBay seem like nothing! I hate people that can’t be bothered to create their own identity. She must have a very dull life if she has to try and steal someone elses!
That’s the problem with being as awesome an talented a blogger as Amber, people always try to rip her off! Also, Rubin’s much cuter. Though I shouldn’t make fun of fake “Shoeper-woman”‘s poor dog because I’m sure living with the type of person who rips off other people has got to suck.
I don’t know what I can say, apart from good luck!
This just makes me so sad. I am sorry for this problem in your life and livelihood. I just don’t get people some times. What the heck! You have all of my support. Wish there was something I could do other than get the word out. Hang in there cutie!
This kind of stuff makes me so sad and MAD.I hate that people out there are so happy to steal others hard work with absolutely no shame. I hope this all turns out ok for you and the blog. Hopefully the Links a la Mode will hwlp bring even more traffic to it!
😀 I love the crossover between Fashion Police and Shoeperwoman!
God I’m disgusted and I’m making a post about this! Hope everything works out fine, bloggers need to stick together.
This is sooo unfair. Can’t people think of something original, like you did, instead of ripping off others? I think you should send Rubin over to bite her!
I’d like to second an earlier offer to donate to your legal fund – should you ever need it. I’ve read your blogs with huge enjoyment for years (I feel like I know you but not in a creepy way!).
I’d be happy to donate as a fair payment for all the times I’ve sat at my desk trying not to laugh out loud.
Shoeper-woman’s fake blog is AWFUL – the shoes are ugly, and the spelling terrible! [redacted] should be ashamed. Amber’s blog is the original and best. If you set up some kind of collection for the legal fund I would happily contribute.
Truly shocking behaviour. However don’t despair, mr Lisbonite is a lawyer and when I mentioned this to him, he pointed out that the trademark registry are likely to regard you as having the shoeperwoman trademark de facto even if you didn’t file for it. I’m also going to post about this. Good luck, what a rotten thing for someone to do!
Is it just me or has her blog disappeared? Hopefully this will all get sorted for you soon, it just sounds terrible! xxx
Hi Amber, Have had a nice afternoon reading your blogs, seeing your fabulous green dresses and great shoes. So I’m disappointed you’re going through this and hope it may have resolved itself. I don’t want to give your copier the kudos by mentioning her blog, but I’m surprised that she has the lack of shame to be so unoriginal. There are always original names if you put your mind to it. Good luck x!